Collection is a Java interface for common abstract data types that store multiple items in them.


  • Lists are indexed sequences with duplication. The two most common types are ArrayLists and Linked Lists.

  • Sets are non-indexed sequences with no duplication. (That is, every value in a set is unique.)

  • Maps are key-value pairs. See Hashing and Hash Tables for a description on one common map implementation, the HashMap. All keys in a map must be unique, but values can be duplicated.

  • Stacks and Queues are two ordered collections that have two core behaviors:

    • push(T x): puts x on the top.

    • pop(): Removes the first item. (See the stacks and queues page for more information.)

Common Functions

  • Membership tests contains() and containsAll() that can determine whether or not an element is in the collection.

  • size() to get the number of items in the collection.

  • isEmpty() returns true if there is nothing in the collection.

  • iterator() returns an Iterator object to go through all the values in the collection.

  • toArray() converts the collection to a standard Java array.

  • Optional functions that aren't implemented in the interface: add, addAll, clear, remove, removeAll, retainAll (intersection)

    • Throws UnsupportedOperationException if not implemented.

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